Increasing maize yields with soil testing and subsides in Tanzania


Though the use of fertilizers can enhance productivity and increase profits for small-scale farming families, two barriers to their adoption have proved critical. First, many farmers often cannot afford to buy fertilizers; second, use recommendations from government sources may not be appropriate for specific farms. In Tanzania, 1 our multi-disciplinary team used low-cost soil testing to pair field-specific recommendations with subsidy vouchers to help cover the cost of fertilizer purchase. Our results show that farmers benefitted significantly in both yields and profits when (1) fertilizer recommendations were calibrated to the needs of individual farms and (2) a subsidy made the recommended fertilizers affordable.



maize yields, soil testing, small-scale farming, use of fertilizers, Tanzania